Leadership SHIFT Tip - Cafe Pharma

Around the time I got promoted to vice president a new cafe opened. At first, cafe pharma sounded a like a cool place to visit. You could grab a latte and scone, sit in front of your computer and virtually connect with others in the pharmaceutical industry.

But for women, minorities, and those with influence, it was far cry from an adorable cafe. Instead, it was a bitter brew of anonymous misogyny, racism, and shaming. And given my charge to reshape my company’s sales force, I received my share of love from those fighting with their insecurities.

In the beginning, seeing the comments made me feel a little queasy like you do after that second slice of pecan pie at Thanksgiving. Then, if I’m honest, they started to hurt. I worried what others, like my daughters, would think if they read them. The shaming was working.

But then I realized that accepting shame is a choice.

Shame is the soul of the status quo that holds us back, keeps us in line, and kills our creativity and self-worth. It’s the emotional vehicle of our inner critic.

Vulnerability is shame’s kryptonite. When you courageously share that you don’t have all the answers and your scars and imperfections make you real, you cut off its oxygen and become more resilient.

Being a leader, at work and in life, requires the heavy lifting that creates change that matters. When you do, there will always be those who will ridicule your work to mask their shame. The vision you seek probably isn’t for them, and their shame is only for you if you accept it.

So let them know that they can buy their own damn coffee.

Have fun storming the castle! Trip Advisor says they have a great cafe there.

p.s., This week check out my #shifttogiving and #tuesdaygiving campaign on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn and share in the giving spirit. And you never know, you may receive something cool if you give.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” — Teddy Roosevel